Karthikeyan: Long absence not a worry

Narain Karthikeyan is optimistic that his long absence from Formula 1 will not hamper him when he returns with Hispania this season

Karthikeyan: Long absence not a worry

The Indian driver last raced in F1 with Jordan in 2005, and was an occasional Williams test driver in 2006 and '07, but has not been involved in F1 since then, instead appearing in A1GP, the Le Mans Series, the Superleague Formula and the NASCAR Truck series.

Karthikeyan believes his A1GP and Superleague outings have kept him sufficiently in touch with a single-seater driving style to swiftly settle back into F1.

Asked by the BBC Hindi service how he would compare preparing for F1 to his most recent programme in NASCAR Trucks, Karthikeyan replied: "It's completely different, from driving the car to the physical fitness levels.

"Everything is different, but I've been driving single-seaters ever since I stopped driving in Formula 1 so it's not new. The only thing is you have to work much harder and try and do the best with what you have."

He also thinks the variety of machinery he has raced since last appearing in F1 proves his versatility and his ability to quickly adapt.

"Speaking to other drivers, the lap times are pretty similar to 2005/6/7, so I think driving the F1 car is going to be special and I have to adapt to the challenges," said Karthikeyan. "Having driven many cars, I'm hoping to do that very quickly."

The 34-year-old accepted that he was turning away from chances to be a frontrunner in other series to run at the tail of the F1 field, but is confident he has made the right choice.

"In Formula 1 a lot depends on the equipment you have," Karthikeyan admitted, "but it's the pinnacle of motorsport, and only a select few in the world have the opportunity to be there. I'm very happy to be there."

He is also relaxed about Hispania's financial situation, which has been the source of constant speculation since the turbulent winter that preceded the team's last-gasp dash to make it to the 2010 season-opener.

"Budgets are the biggest problems and as they say, the small teams are struggling to find the money in this economic situation," Karthikeyan acknowledged. "But I think Hispania have a good plan with the marketing and everything, so I think it shouldn't be a problem."

But Karthikeyan said he would not set any targets for his season until he had begun testing the Hispania-Cosworth.

"I haven't driven the car yet, so once I drive the car I'll know exactly what it is capable of," he said.

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